Toronto Raptors 20th Anniversary 15 Man Roster
In honour of the Toronto Raptors starting their 20th season, I will compile a list of their all-time players. Why 15 men, because that is the size of an NBA roster, 12 players dress, 3 are reverses who don’t dress.
Quick note on criteria for players who made the 15 man roster. Number one is impact while on the Raptors. So sorry Marcus Camby your two year run with the Raptors does not make the list and his next 15 years in the NBA play no role on the roster. Tenure, skill and production matter and only count for when the player was a member of the Raptors. How the player exited Toronto plays no role on this list.
But first lets start with the head coach.
An incredibly easy selection over other candidates Butch Carter, Lenny Wilkins and Sam Mitchell. Casey garners the decision over Mitchell because he is far more regarded within NBA circles. Casey receives tons of credit for the defensive scheme Dallas used to win their first title in 2011. While Sam Mitchell has struggled to find consistent assistant coaching jobs since leaving the Raptors.
Too soon to be eligible for the list:
Entering their 3rd years it is too soon to see what impact Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross will be. After two season returns have been promising. Valanciunas has been a starter since he arrived. In 150 games Valanciunas has averaged 10.3 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. Ross won the NBA Dunk contest as a rookie. In 162 games with the Raptors, Ross has proven to be a good defender whose offensive game is still developing. A 51 point game vs. the Clippers being a career highlight.
Honourable Mention: Sorry you just missed the cut.
Drafted 2nd overall after the expansion Raptors won the lottery but under rules, had to draft second and selected the UMass Center. In his two season, Camby averaged 13.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game. Camby would eventually be traded to the the Knicks for Charles Oakley. In 2013 Camby would again be traded by the Knicks to the Raptors as part of the Andrea Bargnani trade.
Donyell Marshall and Jalen Rose
Marshall and Rose were acquired in the same trade from the Chicago Bulls. Both Marshall and Rose played over 32 minutes a game for the Raptors and averaged double digits. In 131 games Marshall averaged 13.8 points and 8.7 rebounds. In 177 games Rose averaged 16.2 points.
The Junk Yard Dog, is easily the least skilled player on the list. However his style of play and constant effort won the hearts of Toronto fans making him a fan favourite. The shaved bald head, headband and knee high socks are a look ingrained in Raptors history.
Center: Antonio Davis
A difficult decison, as the Raptors have struggled to find a long term answer at Center. Davis gets the decision over Bargnani for his superior defense. Davis played in 310 games for the Raptors making one all-star team and average 12.9 points and 9.2 rebounds a game.
Power Forward: Chris Bosh
The fourth overall pick from the heralded 2003 NBA Draft was the easy selection at PF. Named to 5 all-star teams, Bosh was the backbone of the first Raptors team to win the Atlantic Division. Unfortunately, the Bosh teams never made it out of the first round before he bolted for Miami as a free agent. Bosh averaged 20.2 points and 9.4 rebounds a game for the Raptors in 509 games and is the teams all time leading scorer and rebounder.
Small Forward: DeMar DeRozan
Some many say DeRozan is a two-guard others many say he is a small forward. But in reality there is no way to define what role DeRozan and Ross hold within Dwayne Casey’s offence as the two are interchangeable. The one time all-star is the Raptors 3rd all time leading scorer, averaging 16.8 points a game in 391 games and counting.
Shooting Guard: Vince Carter
Vince Carter was one of the NBA’s must see players in his tenure with the Raptors. Highlight reel dunks and winning a dunk contest were among the accolades Carter garnered. Carter was named to 6 All-star games and averaged over 23 points a games in 403 games. Unfortunately, Vince Carter’s end in Toronto came with the superstar forcing a trade to the Nets after accusations of quitting on the team.
Point Guard: Damon Stoudamire
Were you expecting Jose Calderon or Alvin Williams or Kyle Lowry? All those players are on the team, but the decision to start Stoudamire comes down to the fact the Raptors ran him into the ground for 3 season. Stoudamire averaged 41 minutes a game! Yes, the game was still only 48 minutes in length back in the first three seasons of the Raptors. Stoudamire won rookie of the year honours after being selected 7th overall out of Arizona and would 19.6 points, 8.8 assists and 4.4 rebounds a game on some terrible Raptors teams, that Stoudemire was forced to carry.
Lowry was acquired in the offseason prior to the 2012 season. However it was not until the Rudy Gay trade that Lowry emerged as one of the NBA’s best point guards. Lowry would lead the Raptors to a heartbreaking game 7 lost. In 155 games Lowry averages 33 minutes a game, 15.2 points, 6.9 assists and 4.7 rebounds and is the franchise leader in triple doubles.
The Spanish point guard played 525 games for the Raptors, second most in team history. Calderon was known for flashing finger threes after he made a triple. But Calderon will never been know as even an average defender but offensively Calderon was a great playmaker. Calderon is the team’s all time leader in assists with more than twice as many as the next player. Calderon averaged 10 points and 7.2 assists a game.
The long time point guard maybe one of the least gifted athletes on this list but his consistent hard work and determination paid off. Williams will be remembered for hitting the game winning shot that sent the Raptors to the second round of the playoffs for the only time in franchise history. Williams played in 417 games for the Raptors
The Raptors all-time leader in games played is also the teams 5th highest score. Peterson averaged 12 points a game and played good defence. A good rotation player for the Raptors.
Bargnani maybe one of the least liked players in Raptors history. Bargnani was bashed for his perceived soft play and poor defence. But the Italian first overall draft pick could score. Bargnani averaged over 15 points a game, but was eventually run out of town by the fans.
In one of the greatest trades in Raptors history, the Raptors acquired Johnson and Sonny Weems for Carlos Delfino and Ruko Ukic (essentially 3 second round picks for Johnson). Amir came on when Bosh was hurt his final season in Toronto. Johnson will be remember as the last high school player drafted and has given the Raptors one of the franchise’s best defensive players. Johnson has played in 381 games for the Raptors.
Although, McGrady wouldn’t become a dynamic scorer until he left the Raptors for the Magic, McGrady still had an impact in franchise history. In 191 games, McGrady averaged 11.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in just under 25 minutes a game. The idea that the Raptors could have teamed cousins McGrady and Carter together during their primes will be one of the great what ifs in franchise history.
The Raptors all-time leader in steals was one of the NBA’s well regarded defenders while with the Raptors. Christie played 314 games averaging under 35 minutes a game with a stat line of 14.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game.
Oakley was traded to the Raptors for Marcus Camby. The veteran Oakley instantly brought a mean and nasty attitude to the Raptors. Oakley is often noted for improving the Raptors defence when they first made the playoffs. In 208 games Oakley averaged nearly 8 points and rebounds a game.
Parker was a former first round pick who flamed out of the NBA in his first stint. Parker found a second life in Israel winning league MVP, before signing with the Raptors. Parker was a solid defensive player and a good shooter from 3. In 235 games, Parker averaged almost 12 points a game.